Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Random Tuesday Fact

Hah! I'll bet you thought I've forgotten. ;)

Inspired by Ian's (First Contact) post, I set up the telescope last night and the guys and I viewed Jupiter and the 4 largest Jovian moons.

While not quite as clear as the photo above (courtesy of NASA), it was pretty darned close. Ds#1 spotted the bands first, and then we all saw them. Granted on our lousy 'scope, Jupiter had to be dead-centered and very focused.

I spent half the evening trying to remember the names of the four largest moons. Ds#1 and I remembered Io, Ganymede, and Europa pretty quickly, but Callisto took a good while longer. (And then I smacked my head because any fan of the X-Men comics will remember Callisto in that motley pack of underground mutants...but I digress...)

Jupiter has many, many moons (I lost track of the last count from the most recent fly-by), but the 4 largest moons have been known ever since Galileo trained his telescope on the gas giant. And, yes! You can see the 4 moons through the most modest 'scope. It's pretty fun, if you can stay up, to watch them actually move around Jupiter.

Alas, the Great Red Spot, a perpetual super-storm that's been on Jupiter ever since humans first gazed upon it with instruments, was not to be seen.

Do you have a telescope or an observatory near you? Have you ever star-gazed?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams